Useful Tips on How to Measure Copper Pipe

You are about to install new systems or facilities in your house and they will be connected to the house pipes network. But then you realize that in order to get going with the installation, you will need to get an exact measurement of the pipe and you really don’t know how to do it. Well no need to worry, this article will provide you with some simple instructions on how to measure copper pipe entirely on your own.



So you intend to do some major remodel to your house and that includes putting in a new air filter facility, replacing the water supply system or updating the heating unit to the latest model. When it comes to these systems and facilities, every action must take into account the pipe network. And among the considerations, the pipe dimension is very important. If you happen to have a hard time getting a correct measurement of the copper pipe then the information below will be of immense usefulness.

instructions on how to measure copper pipe

Measure the copper pipe is not just on the outside, you must also need to get the inside measurement as well as the proper fitting for them. It’s not easy to get all of the measurements right at first try, especially when you are not a professional plumber. But it’s really not that hard, you can do it by yourself swiftly and easily as long as you get the right tools and suitable procedures. First, let see what you need.

• Note: Nowadays pipes usually come with labels of their dimension. Try to see if you can spot them anywhere on the pipes before you have to resort to getting the measurement on your own.

The preparations

You are not going to need anything too specialized here, just the usual stuff that you can find in your house or improvise on the spot. Basically, you will need a string, a ruler, a caliper and tape measure. They will help to get the exact diameter, length and width of the pipe, both inside and outside. Technically, you can get all the measurement with just one of the tool above but it would be best to measure the pipe several times over and with all the tools so that you can get the pipe exact dimension.

best to measure the pipe

And of course, you will need something to mark on the pipe so you know how to assemble the pipe right. You may also want to get rid of the rust, dust or other foreign material in the exterior and the interior of the pipe to get the proper measurement so sandpaper is necessary. The measuring should be conducted in a clean and dry environment so if your pipe is either too hot or too cold, take it out and wait till the pipe back to normal temperatures. Same can be said about pipes with the presence of water or moisture.

The procedures

• The string method

This is arguably the easiest way to get the diameter of the pipe. Simply wrap the string around the pipe and check the length of the string needed to cover the pipe completely for once. That should give you the circumference of the pipe which is the distance to go around the pipe once. And as stated above, this only work if there is no anything between the string and the pipe surface so ensure that the pipe surface is as smooth as possible and remove the insulation if you see any.


The downside of this method is you don’t really get the measurement right away. You will need to look for a chart and transform it the proper number that you can actually use. And still, that is just the approximated prediction, this type of measurement can’t offer a precise number. It did narrow down the range of the precise pipe measurement though so it’s good to use it as a reference.

• The ruler and tape measure combination

This method offers better accuracy than the string method and you can actually gather all the necessary measurement right away. The ruler will help you get the pipe outside and inside diameter while the tape measure can act as a more precise version of the string which you may cross check both of the results to determine the correct dimension of the pipe. Do remember to clean out the inside and outside of the pipe to get the most accurate measurement.


Photo via

While indeed much more accurate than the string, this combination still not going to give you the best result since the measuring units on the ruler and tape measure usually not small enough to get you the precise measurement. It did give you numbers that are much closer to the desired result than the string though. Use the result you get from this along with the measurement from the string method to deduce out the proper specifications of the pipe.

• The caliper method

This can be said to be the most accurate option of all. With the small and detail measuring unit, you can get pretty much the exact measurement of the pipe. You can both measure the inside and outside diameter of the pipe with it and the results can be said to very precise. If you have this then use it right away from the start. Just clamp the inward hinges to measure the pipe exterior while the outward hinges are for the pipe interior measurement. It’s very easy to use and the numbers it provides are highly reliable.


One minor downside of this method happens to be a result from its advantage: Very small measuring units. You may need a magnifying glass to see the correct measurement if you don’t have a good eyesight. To neutralize this, you can buy a digital caliper instead of the dial one so you can see the result easier. However, the digital caliper is more expensive and may not work properly in hot or humid environments so pick the model that suits your conditions the most.


And that would the end of this article, hope that you don’t find it too hard to understand? It’s very problematic to get the precise dimension of the pipe if you don’t know how and sloppy measurements may lead to disastrous results. But from now on, you already got several ways to do it right. By applying the use of tools stated above, measuring the pipe is nothing more than a menial task that you can do by yourself in mere minutes.

Is the article enjoyable? If you feel so then give it a like, share and comment.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: